This is the way to carry a coffin

Charles Cowling

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JedrebeccaThe Good Funeral Guide – The right way to carry a coffinCharles CowlingMaggie Recent comment authors

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rebecca
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rebecca

a casket should alwas be carried onto a marae or into a church head first not feet first

Jed
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Jed

Tradition has it that only priests are carried into a church head first, laymen always travel feet first… “Historical precedence provides that if the corpse is a layman, the feet are to be turned towards the altar. If the corpse is a priest, then the position is reversed, the head being towards the altar. The earliest reference to this is in Johann Burchard’s “Diary”. Burchard was the master of ceremonies to Pope Innocent VIII and Pope Alexander VI. A little-known custom also exists that both before the altar and in the grave, the feet of all Christians should be pointed… Read more »

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[…] Respected voices don’t much like this arm’s length carrying, but I do. We don’t disagree, we just think differently. You can do that in Funeralworld. […]

Charles Cowling
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Of course, Maggie. Absolutely. And they must listen to each other and be sensitive to each other’s needs. There is a role for FDs here in exploring this with them.

Maggie
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Maggie

Everyone has a different opinion on this (I personally prefer shoulder-high carrying) – but surely, the only opinion that really matters is that of the bereaved.

Kathryn Edwards
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Kathryn Edwards

I’m with James on this. For some, the ordinary, shopping-bag-ness of the low-level carrying will feel exactly right, while for others, hoisting on high, for all the precariousness, is the only way. I recall being struck how strongly my brother felt that our father’s coffin should be shouldered.

It’s all part of the exploratory enquiry that must be our work: helping the bereaved to manifest, through gestures, the psychic environment that is right for them.

Rupert Callender
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There’s always a way, no matter how narrow the nave. Bit of fumbling, sure, but where’s there’s a will..
boom boom.

Norfolk Nemesis
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Norfolk Nemesis

From a purely practical point of view I can think of several Churches where the nave isn’t wide enough to do this.

james
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Sure, that’s nice. Trusting of the handles, too. But suitcases and shopping bags we carry like this; what, aside from our young children, do we carry and lift high onto our shoulders? Our dear dead – that’s who. So I’d counter this safe picture with my experience of the four sisters shouldering their youngest sibling’s coffin round the corner of Leckhampton church, staggering into the teeth of the January gale, high heels sinking into the turf, with half a dozen other family – old and young – each keeping a safe hand on the coffin, doubling up on the webbing… Read more »

sentiment
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ahhhhhh LOVE IT! beautiful